Health

Lonliness, A Molecule
September 19, 2007 11:34 AM - UCLA News

It is already known that a person's social environment can affect his or her health, with those who are socially isolated - that is, lonely - suffering from higher mortality than people who are not.

Now, in the first study of its kind, published in the current issue of the journal Genome Biology, UCLA researchers have identified a distinct pattern of gene expression in immune cells from people who experience chronically high levels of loneliness. The findings suggest that feelings of social isolation are linked to alterations in the activity of genes that drive inflammation, the first response of the immune system. The study provides a molecular framework for understanding why social factors are linked to an increased risk of heart disease, viral infections and cancer.

HIV prevention could save millions in Africa: study
September 19, 2007 11:27 AM - Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Using drugs to prevent HIV infection could prevent as many as 3 million new cases in Africa if it was done right, researchers predicted on Tuesday.

A daily pill would not even have to prevent infection all the time to have this effect, if it was given to the right people with the proper counseling, the team at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and at Imperial College London said.

"If you do it right, you can prevent lots of infections," Pittsburgh's Dr. John Mellors, who helped direct the study, said in a telephone interview.

The researchers wanted to know if a potential new approach called pre-exposure chemoprophylaxis, or PrEP, would work in a real-world setting.

Food Firms Want Binding Rules For Safe Imports
September 19, 2007 08:08 AM - Reuters

WASHINGTON - Top U.S. food companies, worried recent import scares may turn away customers, launched a plan on Tuesday to add teeth to existing safety guidelines and increase funding for bare-bones federal regulators.  The Grocery Manufacturers Association, which includes leading companies like General Mills Inc., Cargill Inc., ConAgra Foods Inc. and Hershey Co., proposed the steps in a bid to ease fears stirred this year by reports of lead-laden toys and chemical-laced seafood and other goods imported into the United States, largely from China.

Peruvians get sick from apparent meteorite crater
September 18, 2007 06:57 PM - Teresa Cespedes, Reuters

LIMA (Reuters) - Dozens of people living in a Peruvian town near Lake Titicaca reported vomiting and headaches after they went to look at a crater apparently left by a meteorite that crashed down over the weekend, health officials said on Tuesday.

After hearing a loud noise, people went to see what had happened and found a crater 65 feet wide and 22 feet deep on an uninhabited plateau near Carancas in the Puno region.

Experts from Peru's Geophysical Institute are on their way to the area 800 miles south of Lima to verify whether it was a meteorite.

"We've examined about 100 people who got near to the meteorite crater who have vomiting and headaches because of gasses coming out of there," Jorge Lopez, health director in Puno, told Reuters.

 

Food Firms Launch Import Food Safety Effort
September 18, 2007 06:55 PM - Missy Ryan, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Top U.S. food companies, worried recent import scares may turn away customers, launched a plan on Tuesday to add teeth to existing safety guidelines and increase funding for bare-bones federal regulators.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association, which includes leading companies like General Mills Inc., Cargill Inc., ConAgra Foods Inc. and Hershey Co., proposed the steps in a bid to ease fears stirred this year by reports of lead-laden toys and chemical-laced seafood and other goods imported into the United States, largely from China.

Americans back Petraeus Troop Withdrawals, Oppose War
September 18, 2007 06:51 PM -

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A majority of Americans approve of U.S. plans for limited troop withdrawals from Iraq but are not more optimistic about the war after testimony last week from a top U.S. general, a new poll found on Tuesday.

The poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & The Press found modest improvements in public perceptions of the U.S. military effort in Iraq, with 41 percent saying it was going very or fairly well, up from 36 percent in July.

The top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, said in congressional testimony last week that President George W. Bush's troop build-up in Iraq had led to progress in reducing violence but that political reconciliation among warring factions remained elusive.

Recalled Mattel Toys: 200 Times Legal Lead Limit
September 18, 2007 06:40 PM - Diane Bartz, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Toymaker Mattel Inc's recent recalls involved toys that had nearly 200 times the amount of lead in paint as allowed by U.S. law, the company said in a letter released to a congressional subcommittee on Tuesday.

The largest U.S. toymaker recalled millions of Chinese-made toys in August and September due to hazards from small powerful magnets and lead paint. Mattel's Fisher-Price unit recalled about 1.5 million toys because of excessive lead paint on the products based on popular characters from "Sesame Street" and "Dora the Explorer."

Alzheimers Caregivers Sarifice Years Off Lifespan
September 18, 2007 05:51 PM -

COLUMBUS , Ohio – The chronic stress that spouses and children develop while caring for Alzheimer's disease patients may shorten the caregivers' lives by as much as four to eight years, a new study suggests.

The research also provides concrete evidence that the effects of chronic stress can be seen both at the genetic and molecular level in chronic caregivers' bodies.

 
 
 
 

The findings, reported this month by researchers from Ohio State University and the federal National Institute of Aging, were published in the Journal of Immunology.

These are the latest results from a nearly three-decade-long program at Ohio State investigating the links between psychological stress and a weakened immune status. Previous studies have examined medical students, newlyweds, divorced spouses, widows, widowers and long-married couples, in each case, looking for physiological effects caused by psychological stress.

$10.5M Fine Over HGH Hormone For Celebrities
September 18, 2007 05:37 PM - Mark Pratt, AP

BOSTON (AP) - A company that distributed human growth hormone to "well known athletes and entertainers" has agreed to pay a $10.5 million penalty and cooperate with law enforcement in ongoing investigations, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

Under the terms of the agreement, Specialty Distribution Services Inc., a subsidiary of Express Scripts Inc., will not face prosecution for three years if it fully complies with terms of the agreement.

Steve Littlejohn, a spokesman for St. Louis-based Express Scripts, said the company fully cooperated in the federal investigation and has already implemented procedures to prevent the illegal distribution of human growth hormone.

Cell death in sparrow brains may provide clues in age-related human diseases
September 18, 2007 01:26 PM - Joel Schwarz, University of Washington

A remarkable change takes place in the brains of tiny songbirds every year, and some day the mechanism controlling that change may help researchers develop treatments for age-related degenerative diseases of the brain such as Parkinson's and dementia.

 

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